John McLaughlin Williams: William Grant Still Archaic Ritual orchestral suiteLabels: John McLaughlin Williams, William Grant Still
Archaic Ritual is an orchestral suite in three movements written in 1946 by the great African-American composer William Grant Still. While having no program, it is evocative of a pagan ceremony worshiping idols and long dead Gods, with its finale suggesting a frenzied dance resultant from the ritual ingestion of mind-altering narcotics. The work abounds with examples of Still's gift for imaginative orchestration and harmony. There is no commercial recording of this piece, and to this day many of Still's large catalog of orchestral and operatic works remain without recordings or unperformed. This performance is by the Centennial Celebration Orchestra,
conducted by John McLaughlin Williams.